Avoiding Summer Sports Injuries

WCBS News Health Watch—July 6, 2007

There’s no denying that exercise is good for you, but unfortunately it can lead to injuries. In this edition of “Healthy, Wealthy and Wise,” CBS 2’s Dr. Holly Phillips talks with a top sports expert, Christopher Anselmi, D.C., of the Integrative Care Center in New York City, an affiliate of Hospital for Special Surgery, about preventing summer sports injuries.

Reporter: Many of us are more active in the summertime. We pick up a sport we haven’t played in months, and so naturally that can lead to aches and pains, to say the least. Joining us today to talk about common sports injuries is Dr. Anselmi, a member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

You say the activities most likely to cause injury are tennis, golf, bicycle riding, swimming and boating. What problems do you see with these?

Dr. Anselmi: I see a lot of neck and lower back pain, shoulder-related injuries from swimming, lower back pain from golf-related injuries and overhead shoulder injuries from tennis and swimming.

Reporter: I think all doctors agree the best way to approach injuries is to prevent them altogether. Why is warming up the most important measure to take?

Dr. Anselmi: Warming up is important due to the fact that a cold muscle is more prone to pulling or straining. Once a muscle is warm, it has a greater ability to elongate properly and work in a better way.

Reporter: So it’s all about stretching. You brought along a stretching aid here. How is this used?

Dr. Anselmi: This is a stretch strap we use in our office. It has little rings and little holes throughout the stretch strap, and what it does, it allows the patient to stretch out the hamstrings and stretch out the lower back, stretch out the quads. It gives them a good opportunity to bring this with them and stretch pre- and post-activity. They can travel with it. It’s small and light and very effective.

Reporter: Can you get this anywhere, or do you have to be prescribed?

Dr. Anselmi: You can buy this online, you can buy this in most any sports store, and it comes in many different forms and many different shapes.

Reporter: Well, if prevention doesn’t work, and you get injured, you recommend the RICE protocol. Can you tell us about that?

Dr. Anselmi: The acronym RICE stands for “Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.” If you injure an ankle, knee, shoulder or arm, what you want to do is rest it, put ice on the area of injury, compress it or wrap it, and elevate it above your heart.

Reporter: How long should you wait before seeking medical help?

Dr. Anselmi: Twenty-four to 48 hours is what I suggest. If the area is still bothering you and it’s really giving you a hard time, that’s the time to seek advice.

Reporter: I’d like to move on to a viewer question. James from Harlem asks, “I’m about to start working out again after a year off; is a personal trainer necessary?”

Dr. Anselmi: I think a personal trainer is fantastic. I’m a doctor, and I use a personal trainer to exercise on a consistent basis. Having the eyes of a professional watching over you while you exercise and train is the best way to prevent injury.

 To view the full report, visit WCBSTV.com.


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